50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present, and Future of Women and Power

SYNOPSIS

50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present, and Future of Women and Power begins when Emmy-nominated filmmaker & founder of The Webby Awards Tiffany Shlain meets Laura Liswood, the Secretary General of the UN Council of Women Leaders, and learns a fact about the history of women and power that completely rocks her world—that there have been over 50 elected women presidents and prime ministers around the world. Shocked, disappointed and, ultimately, inspired in herself for not knowing this fact, Tiffany brings us all along on her journey to rethink the last 10,000 years and ask, where are we really on the greater arc of history of women and power? And what’s it going to take to get to a #5050 world—not just politics and board rooms, but truly shifting the gender balance to be better for everyone.

 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Connected Tiffany Shlain

Tiffany Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and founder of The Webby Awards. Her films and work have received over 80 awards and distinctions including a Disruptive Innovation Award from Tribeca Film Festival and being listed on NPR’s best commencement speeches. Four of her films have premiered at Sundance, including Connected, which was hailed by the NY Times as “exploring everything from the Big Bang to Twitter,” and Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness, about the importance of reproductive rights. Her original series The Future Starts Here has received over 40 million views.

Changing Same: The Untitled Racial Justice Project

SYNOPSIS

Changing Same: The Untitled Racial Justice Project is an immersive, room-scale virtual reality experience where the participant travels through time and space to witness the connected historical experiences of racial terror in America. It’s a respectful, haunting story infused with magical realism and Afrofuturism about the uninterrupted cycle of the history of white racial oppression—past and present.

Changing Same seeks to confront the US’s history of lynching and examine how the US’s legacy of racial violence continues to influence contemporary issues such as mass incarceration, crime and justice. Changing Same uses time-travel and magical realism to enable participants to experience the evolution of racial violence in the US and make connections between the past and present, as well as contemplate how our history of racism continues to have a lasting effect on human conditions in the US today. At the end of the experience, participants travel to an Afrofuturist world to imagine a more equitable future for all, one that is attentive and accountable to the violences of the past.

ABOUT THE DIRECTORS

Michèle Stephenson, pulls from her Panamanian and Haitian roots to tell compelling, personal stories. Her work has appeared on a variety of platforms, including PBS and Showtime. Her film,  American Promise,  was nominated for three Emmys including Best Documentary. She was recently awarded the Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award and is a Guggenheim Fellow and Skoll Sundance Storytellers of Change Fellow.

 

 

Joe Brewster Joe Brewster Changing Same: The Untitled Racial Justice ProjectJoe Brewster uses his psychiatrist training to inform the social issues he tackles as a filmmaker.  Brewster is a Spirit Award and three-time Emmy Award nominee.  His documentary, American Promise, won Jury Prize at Sundance.  Brewster’s outreach accomplishments include a BritDoc Prize for developing one of the most innovative impact campaigns.

An Act of Worship

SYNOPSIS

The travel ban sent a chilling message throughout America: Muslims are not welcome here. An Act of Worship begins with travel ban protests in airports across the country, then moves to mosques, community centers, and homes, where the urgency to address Islamophobia is becoming more and more palpable. Our story depicts the everyday lives of Muslim women activists across the U.S. as they forge new ways to confront the current political climate and provides an up-close look at a new generation’s attempt to take back control of its own narrative despite decades-long efforts to marginalize and criminalize them.

An Act of Worship participated in the 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Nausheen Dadabhoy An Act of Worship Chicken & Egg PicturesNausheen Dadabhoy is a Pakistani-American director and cinematographer working in documentary and fiction. She received her MFA in Cinematography from the American Film Institute. She’s had an Oscar-nominated film; her work shown at festivals including Sundance, TIFF, AFI Fest, IDFA; and on platforms including Netflix, HBO, and PBS. Nausheen has worked on four continents, speaks three languages, owns two cameras, and she was recently named one of DOCNYC’s “40 Under 40.” She is based in New York, Los Angeles, and Karachi.

The Letter

SYNOPSIS

Along the coast of Kenya, a frenzied mix of consumerism and Christianity is turning hundreds of families against their elders, branding them as witches as a means to steal their land. Ninety-two-year-old Margaret Kamango stands accused by her sons, while her strong-willed daughters try to protect her. This dangerous dispute is seen through the eyes of Margaret’s grandson, Karisa, who returns home from the city to investigate and is ultimately forced to choose which side he is on.

The Letter is a participant of the 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative.

ABOUT THE DIRECTORS

The Letter is co-directed by Maia von Lekow and Chris King.

Maia von Lekow is a Kenyan filmmaker and musician.  Maia has worked as director, producer, and sound recordist for several film and music projects since founding Circle and Square Productions in 2009.  She has performed on stages across the world and continues to compose music for films. She received an African Movie Academy Award for her song Uko Wapi, and was named a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR on World Refugee Day 2013.

 

Chris King is an award-winning filmmaker based in Nairobi, Kenya. Born in Australia, Chris studied at The School of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne before relocating to Kenya in 2007, where he has worked as a cinematographer, editor, animator, director, and producer in both factual and non-factual shorts, features, and music videos.  In 2009, Chris co-founded Circle and Square Productions with his wife Maia and, in the same yearm received an African Movie Academy Award in Editing for his work on the Kenyan feature film, From a Whisper.

The Letter is Chris and Maia’s first feature documentary.

 

Commuted (working title)

SYNOPSIS

Commuted tells the story of Danielle Metz, a 52-year-old woman trying to find her footing after spending nearly half of her life in prison. In 2016 Danielle’s was one of 568 life sentences President Obama overturned. Her life story is just one example of how the US criminal justice system impacts black families—before she was incarcerated, she had lost one boyfriend to police violence, another to a wrongful conviction, and then found herself in prison due to involvement with her husband’s drug ring. As Danielle starts to right her path, we reflect with her on a life interrupted.

Commuted  is a participant of the 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Nailah Jefferson’s first film, Vanishing Pearls, told the story of a little known African American oyster fishing community and their fight for justice after the BP oil spill. After acquisition by ARRAY/AFFRM, Vanishing Pearls streams on The Urban Movie Channel. Nailah was nominated for a 2017 National Magazine Ellie award for Essence Magazine’s Black Girl Magic Episode 4. Nailah’s first narrative, Plaquemines, was chosen as an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist and is available on HBO, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand.

Made in Boise

SYNOPSIS

A surprising—and booming—industry has emerged in Boise, Idaho. In this idyllic, all-American city, nurses, nail technicians, and stay-at-home mothers are having babies for strangers—in record numbers. Boise’s own St. Luke’s Medical Center founded and runs the first and best surrogacy program of its kind, in all the US. But everything is not as it appears, surrogacy is not without its health risks, and the practice is not without its emotional complications. Character-driven and stylized in its approach, Made In Boise introduces audiences to the unique world of surrogacy in the most unexpected of places.

 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Beth Aala is a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer and Peabody Award winner for her documentary work at HBO. Beth’s recent feature documentary, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman, which she co-directed and produced, premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. She was nominated for the 2015 News and Documentary Emmy Awards for her film, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (2013 Toronto International Film Festival), which she directed and produced with comedian Mike Myers. It won the 2014 Hollywood Film Award for best documentary. Her directorial debut, Pool Party (2010), played at festivals all over the world.

Syrian Families Film (Untitled)

SYNOPSIS

A look at war and displacement through the lens of parenthood from Megan Mylan, Academy-Award winning director of Lost Boys of Sudan and Smile Pinki. This feature documentary unfolds as a sequence of cinematic short stories revolving around Syrian families living in Turkey, Greece, the US, Germany, and Syria. Each chapter is an intimate portrait of parents—often mothers alone—as they work to rebuild their children’s lost sense of security and possibility. It is a story that is both urgent and timeless.

 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Megan Mylan creates intimate observational nonfiction films. She has been recognized with an Academy Award®, Emmy nominations, an Independent Spirit Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work includes: Smile Pinki, Lost Boys of Sudan, Raça, and numerous short documentaries. Megan served several years on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Executive Committee for Documentary. She has a BA from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Master’s degrees in Journalism and Latin American Studies from UC Berkeley.

A Prince From Outer Space: Zeki Müren

SYNOPSIS

This experimental, multilayered film uses Zeki Müren, Turkey’s most celebrated singer and modern day queer icon, as a prism to explore the country’s internal contradictions, from its founding as a modern, secular nation to the current crisis. Zeki, “Turkey’s Liberace,” was a chameleon-like figure. He expertly used his celebrity to navigate societyallowing audiences to see in him only what they wanted to see. The film deconstructs how myths are made and consumed, as it provides a window onto Turkey, a nation existing between the worlds of the east and of the west while belonging to neither.

A Prince From Outer Space: Zeki Müren is a participant of the 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Beyza Boyacioglu is a filmmaker and artist from Istanbul, currently based in New York. Her work has been exhibited in MoMA Documentary Fortnight, IDFA, RIDM, Anthology Film Archives, Morelia International Film Festival, Brooklyn Museum, Maysles Cinema, and !f Istanbul, among others. She was a part of MIT Open Documentary Lab between 2014–2017. She’s been a fellow at UnionDocs, Flaherty Seminar, and Greenhouse. She holds an MASc in Comparative Media Studies from MIT and an MFA in Computer Art from SVA.

The In Between

SYNOPSIS

The in Between is a portrait of a unique community that follows the exceptional but very normal lives of the citizens of the sister cities of Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Coahuila along the U.S. / Mexico border, offering an intimate look into the heart of Mexican-American identity.

The In Between participated in the 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Robie Flores grew up on the U.S./Mexico border. She is an independent filmmaker and video editor based in New Orleans. She previously worked with Loki Films as an assistant on Detropia, The Education of Mohammed Hussein and ESPN’s Title IX documentary, Branded. Her work has appeared on CNN and Bloomberg and has been featured by Teen Vogue, Fusion, Allure and i-d Vice. Her latest project The In Between, has received support from Chicken & Egg’s Diversity Fellows Initiative and was selected for IFP’s 2018 Documentary Lab and the 2018 Points North Fellowship. The film is fiscally sponsored by Women Make Movies.

The In Between is her first feature film.

Through the Night

SYNOPSIS

To make ends meet, Americans are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality of nonstop work has resulted in an unexpected phenomenon: the flourishing of 24-hour daycare centers. Through the Night is a verité documentary that explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider, whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center in New Rochelle, NY.

Through the Night is a participant of the 2018 Accelerator Lab.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Loira Limbal is an Afro-Latina filmmaker and DJ interested in the creation of art that affirms women of color and builds solidarity across communities. Her first film, Estilo Hip Hop, aired on PBS in 2009. Limbal is currently directing Through the Night, a feature documentary about a 24-hour daycare center in New Rochelle, NY. She is the Vice President and Documentary Lab Director at Firelight Media. She lives in the Bronx with her two children.